Dear Neighbors,

I am so overwhelmed by your generous spirit. I truly don’t have the words to describe my gratitude. I had lots of butterflies before our 12th annual DONNA Marathon Weekend. All of our beaches communities have been unwavering in their support of our work to help underserved families facing breast cancer and the ground breaking research we fund at Mayo Clinic. This year’s relocation of the start and finish lines to The Beaches Town Center is the culmination of a dream to have our runners and their families experience the heart of our beautiful seaside communities in a way they couldn’t fully before. The first thing I saw when I arrived on race morning was the line of bicycles heading for the bike valet. I thought “this is us.”

I have heard nothing but absolute rave reviews from our runners who this year hailed from all 50 states and 9 countries.

You showed up and showed out, decking the streets with pink and positivity.

From Ocean Blvd to Flock on Fifth, to my inspiring ZTA ladies who brought me to tears at mile 23 at the Seawalk Pavillon and everyone in between, I just don’t know how the day could have been more filled with love and hope.

A special thanks to all of our public safety teams from Jacksonville and our beach communities and to Mayors Elaine Brown and Ellen Glasser, who embraced this move from the get go and were determined to make it a success for both the community and the participants.

I realize an event of this size comes with inevitable inconveniences. Thank you for bearing those with such grace. Our motto for many years has been a message of love over fear and thanks to you, that message is resonating with people who desperately need it. I couldn’t be prouder to call the beaches my home.

With sincerest love and gratitude,
Donna Deegan
Jacksonville Beach